One Page Dungeon: The Vault of Illusion and the Cube of Power

This is literally the only piece of the map I could post separately without giving away any important dungeon secrets!

I never seem to get my schedule matched up with the One Page Dungeon contest. In 2009, I drew up a dungeon, “Hilduin’s Vault of Illusions,” for the very first contest, but I got distracted and failed to turn it in by the deadline. Luckily the effort didn’t go to waste, since I was able to run my players through it for two sessions. And in 2010 and 2011, I completely lost track of the contest, finding out about the deadlines only after they’d passed.

But this year, fellow Mule author Greengoat posted his own doubtless-brilliant entry this past Friday. (I haven’t read Devil Gut Rock in hopes that I’ll actually have a chance to play it someday.) This gave me three whole days to produce my own entry! Fortunately, by recycling and updating my original entry — and with a brilliant artistic assist from Red Box New York player-cartographer Josh Krause — I’ve made the deadline and unleashed a horrid little package of tricks and traps onto the old school gaming universe.

For your gaming pleasure: The Vault of Illusion and the Cube of Power.

The Vault sums up, for me, a specific thread of old school play. It’s mean and unfair, but not in the sense that the referee has any personal animus toward the players. Rather, it’s structured to trick the players into getting themselves into trouble. While it’s not as vicious or deadly as the Tomb of Horrors, the same principles apply: the guy who built the place in-game (rather than the module writer, who built it out-of-game) did not have the adventurers’ best interests in mind!

9 Responses to “One Page Dungeon: The Vault of Illusion and the Cube of Power”

  1. May 1, 2012 at 1:23 am

    That is a nice looking map. Not just in execution, but conceptually.

    Also: I am scared of this dungeon!

  2. 2 gmonk
    May 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    A fine looking dungeon, and it looks like it would be interesting and challenging for a low level party.

  3. May 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I can speak firsthand and confirm that this dungeon was a blast. Very cool to see this mapped out all fancy, I may actually have our player version hiding around here somewhere that I can post for comparison.

    This was one of the early dungeons our group encountered, before we were savvy to the ways of tricksy DM’s. It was a ton of fun, although I’m afraid we didn’t actually “solve” most of the puzzles/tricks, we just kind of bumbled through, though I will say that often provides a more immersive experience, as a bunch of bonehead adventurers would more than likely be just as lost as a bunch of bonehead players.

    I will say, any pain we experienced was offset by a version of Hiduins cube significantly juiced up above the version presented herein (which Eric has been scheming to snatch away ever since!)

  4. May 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks! It was a lot of fun to design, and I hope that other players and DMs get as much fun out of it as my group and I did.

    Low-level tricks and traps are interesting because you have a lot of scope to play around with obstacles that higher-level characters can bypass easily, such as invisible objects and secret doors. A thoughtful mid-level party with access to third-level spells could breeze through much of the Vault without suffering any losses, but I hope that even they might have some trouble unraveling the trickier elements of the dungeon and acquiring the Cube.

    I just wish I’d had more time to work on the dungeon. There’s a few things I might have changed or improved…

  5. May 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    If anyone does plan on running the Vault, let me know! I’d be very interested to see how it plays out in another gaming group.

  6. May 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    In rummaging around in my old blog posts, I found one regarding my experiences running the adventure: https://muleabides.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/if-you-build-it-they-will-come/.

  7. June 13, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I converted this for an m20 game I ran and we had a blast with it.

  8. July 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really realize what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally seek advice from my website =). We can have a hyperlink change contract between us

  9. July 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Excellent article! Bonne contination à vous :)

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Past Adventures of the Mule

April 2012

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